Wednesday 22 September 2021

Kent clamping decision welcomed

Logistics UK has applauded a government decision to withdraw powers from Kent County Council (KCC) to clamp HGVs parked in laybys across several areas of the county.

Heidi Skinner, the organisation’s policy manager for the South East, said the Department for Transport (DfT) decision was “great news” for hard-working drivers.

“Lorry drivers, who were deemed ‘essential’ during the pandemic, must be able to take their legally required rests during the day without fear of prohibitions: while the existing shortage of between 1,000 and 1,200 HGV parking spaces in Kent continues, laybys are often the only option for those seeking somewhere to stop,” she pointed out.

Last month, Logistics UK had written to the transport minister Rachel Maclean, to express what it called “strong objections” to KCC’s powers to clamp lorries parking in laybys in several areas for more than 45 minutes at a time.

While welcoming the DfT decision, however, Logistics UK said it would continue to call on KCC to “listen to the views of the logistics sector” as regards its own consultation on laybys, and ensure that further restrictions and enforcement were not imposed.

Heidi Skinner continued: “It is now vitally important that DFT works closely with KCC to create sufficient safe parking spaces. The welfare of these key workers must be a priority, to provide them with access to safe and secure parking spaces to rest… The shortage of appropriate spaces is a problem which has been highlighted to government for several years now, without any significant action being taken. The Dover Straits is such a key link in the UK’s supply chain and it is imperative that those using the route can do so safely, without having to put their health or their loads at risk while in transit.”

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